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Suddenly Widowed

For those widowed suddenly or unexpectedly by any cause. 

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Grief, guilt, and regret

Started by Crabby. Last reply by Melissa on Friday. 11 Replies

Hello,I lost my husband of 38 years suddenly 11 weeks ago tomorrow. We were empty nesters with two grown children, and two adorable granddaughters. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Don was in our…Continue

Grief, guilt, and regret

Started by Crabby. Last reply by Crabby Oct 14. 4 Replies

Hello,I lost my husband of 38 years suddenly 11 weeks ago tomorrow. We were empty nesters with two grown children, and two adorable granddaughters. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Don was in our…Continue

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Comment by InsideLove on March 18, 2018 at 4:28am

My husband had the foresight to take all our family videos from my family in the 1960s to his videos of him, my  son and I, and transfer them from film to DVD. He did this about 10 years ago. I have 24 DVD with videos of holidays, trips, our son growing up, milestone birthdays and events, all, on video. Some have an hour on them others 2 to 3 hours. Granted, and I don’t know how it could be unless we were a reality show,  while not our entire life they are enough to help allevitate my pain of missing him. Somehow, seeing and hearing him are actually helping my pain.

Since the videos are on DVD and that input is difficult for much of my family, I am slowly but  thoroughly enjoying looking at each one, then transferring over to USB flash drives, movements in time they might enjoy because they too are in the videos. Or it’s a small enough clip I can email them a copy. Or even a fewer amount of times, the clip is just 2 to 4 minutes and I text it to them. They ALL love this. OR at least, no one yet has told me to stop.

One hour or watching, seems to do me in. Usually it’s him behind the camera so I hear his voice.At least 50% he’s either teaching me to use the video camera with him in the picture, or I’ve mastered the video camera and he’s in it body and voice, or better yet, he’s got it on a tripod and we are together.

Lately I’ve taken 30 minute or longer videos and edit them.  A 30 minutes video often takes another 15 or 20 to denote minutes and seconds for a scene because it means watching again to denote start/stop seconds, 

I now have over a dozen shorter clips of JUST him on my iPhone. I LOVE that when I have to travel alone, I can go to the videos and play a 5 minute segment of him in a fashion show, or talking to me at the camera about one of his new cars, or him enjoying a time with our son, or his family; so many to choose from to make these short softeners of time past, and memories never to be made again with him. A continuing bond which seems to be softening this most dreaded life path.

I LOVE that I have this treasure. More so I love he actually thought through that ONE of us would be somehow finding comfort from the videos. More so than the 25,000+/- photos I have.

I love seeing him, hearing him, and the smiles or laughter each memory brings to me. But as I hint at, an hour is often so sad because I know, he’s no longer here to enjoy a trip to Sedona AZ with, or hold the video on him playing with our granddaughters, or build another house together; it’s never going to be the same again.

Still I find, when I allow myself to simply enjoy them, knowing THIS is the man I love, the life I loved, the love of my life, then a little more pain, sure just a smidge of the pain, eases up. It’s weird really. Weird in that such a continuing bond helps hold my love in my heart and the grief softens up a little.

I haven’t been checking in here so often except to read and be comforted with what you all share. I learn from each of you here. Thank you for sharing your experience so openly, sometimes even so painfully. 

Comment by MPMom (Colleen) on March 17, 2018 at 2:49pm

I actually have a 25ish minute video my husband made years ago.  He participated in somewhat risky activities (BASE jumping, finding new rock climbing locations and lines, mountaineering, skydiving, wingsuit BASE, etc) and while in a class for BASE, he was instructed to make a video or write a letter that would be delivered to your loved ones should the unfortunate happen.  This was to try and drive home to the students the fact that the activity involved risk and were they ready to accept that, and potentially leave loved ones behind.  As soon as my husband died, I remembered this.  I knew I would be getting a letter or video.  He had made it a few years ago and gave it to his best friend for safekeeping with instructions to give it to me should the unthinkable happen.  It was handed to me within the first week of his accident.  I knew immediately what I was being given but knew I could not watch it.  I didn't know when I would be ready to watch it, but it turns out I accidentally found the files on his computer a month or so later and started watching it before I knew what it was.  Once I started, I couldn't stop.  I have since watched it dozens of times and while it's been a while since I watched it, I can now sometimes make it through without crying my eyes out.  But there he is, laughing, smiling at me, talking, living, breathing.  In it he left messages, words of wisdom, and thoughts for the girls and I as well as anyone who knew and loved him.  I have made copies and shared it with his family and his closest friends.  As it turns out, he had actually made a first version of this before taking the class.  He had been in China, alone on the side of a mountain when the 9.0 earthquake hit a many (9?) years ago.  He was within 50km of the epicenter.  Before making his way back down the mountain, through 100s of aftershocks, massive land slides and rock slides, he made a quick video saying goodbye to us, then packed the camera safely buried deep inside his backpack.  Upon getting safely home (he has quite an amazing story of survival there) he deleted the video, but then realized it wasn't a bad thing to have to leave behind and made another, but this time took more time and thought in to it.  Anyway, I should watch it again soon.  We have other videos of him on adventures, on family trips, etc, but this is different.  I treasure them all.

Comment by Rkay on March 17, 2018 at 5:53am

I was thinking this morning about why doing the living day to day is so..I don't really want to say difficult..because I am doing it..but every morning when my eyes open and I wake hits. I have 6 kids.  I have always my whole adult life been surrounded by a bit of chaos..noise chaos..and all the chaos that comes from raising a brood..the kids dad and I divorced about 15 years ago or so.  Then I met Howard and he accepted me and all the baggage of said a champ!  His exact words when I laughed and said "you do NOT want to marry me" was ~ as he took my hand and held in in a hug "we will do it together"...  and we did..the kids loved him.  But they still have their dad to turn to.  And my thought as a mom of grown kids is that it is not their job to entertain me..I consider it a win that they are busy and carrying on with their own lives.  But the silence after being used to all that weird.  I quilt so I have a hobby to keep me busy..and am fortunate enough to work from home..which means I don't get out much.  I try to and do about once a week or so..but again..its weird.   I've thought about moving..but I have horses, chickens, dogs, cats..which I did not have before..some days I wonder what I got myself into..but I love them all.  They just set limits on what I far I go day to one likes missing a meal. =)

Comment by Rkay on March 17, 2018 at 5:18am

Peaceful3616 ~ Jessica..thank you so much for the link to the voicemail saver.  What a relief.  I have been thinking that I am going to have to replace the phones one day..or what if they just stop working..The voice is way more valuable than anything at this point.  Cheers to your day! I sip my first cup of coffee..I salute you. =)

Comment by Gunnerx2 (Carol) on March 17, 2018 at 4:32am

Frank, all I can say is what a beautiful gift that will be one day.  For you to listen to when you are ready and for your children to have for prosperity on the love and respect their parents had for each other and for them.  I love this story.  Carol

Comment by Frank on March 16, 2018 at 9:25pm

HI All,

Our "Greeting" was "You have reached Frank and Susan, please your number and we will call you back as soon as we can."  I could not change that recording until this last year (5 years out.).  The kids were pestering me, pleading that I change it as each time they called me and I was out, they heard that recording and it hurt them.

Before I retired from the Navy, I was making 9 month cruises, and three month cruises and one month cruises. Each night I would sit down and using a cassette tape, I would  "Talk" a note to her.  I'd tell her what I could of what had gone on and how much our "Phone Patches" meant to me.  Very nearly each night I would get on the radio and through Navy MARS, I would talk with her.  "Hi Honey, I love you, (OVER)  that was how we communicated with our spouses while at sea.  Each man got 3-5 minutes to chat with their wives, mothers, family, or girlfriends.  Since I ran the radio, the first call each night was to Susan to "test the frequency" and the last call of the night was to her to tell her "good night."

Susan really liked the cassette tapes, and she would set the recorder on the kitchen table while she and the children ate dinner.  They would talk about their school day, field trips, or the dogs ( we had a kennel and raised King Size German Shepherds).  Susan would also talk about her work day and any problems with the car or house.  At 9pm the children were banished to their rooms for the night and Susan would take the recorder into the bedroom and expand on the dinner side of the tape if necessary, tell me more about what was going on, and, she started to sneak "X Rated stuff" onto side two of the tape.  I took up her lead and the first side was navy & ship stuff, and the second side was X Rated.  Last month, I found those tapes.  Susan had saved them all these years.  By now I have forgotten sound her voice, and honestly, I'm afraid to even pick up one of them muchless play one.  I will listen to them, I just don't know when, and I'm sure I'll be a mess from the beginning to the end of each tape.



Comment by Greg on March 16, 2018 at 3:23pm

Carol, yes not now. I have the dvd locked up in my safe. I want to watch it so bad but im just not strong enough at this point. But it gives me comfort to know that it is there when im ready.

Comment by Gunnerx2 (Carol) on March 16, 2018 at 3:18pm

Greg, I'm not sure I could watch a video of Dennis.  I think it would be overwhelming to watch so I understand.  Someday maybe you will be able to but not now ....   Carol

Comment by Gunnerx2 (Carol) on March 16, 2018 at 3:17pm

This made me smile Misty!  I can feel how much comfort it brought you.   Carol

Comment by Greg on March 16, 2018 at 3:16pm

My wife and I renewed our wedding vows in August. She passed away in October. I have a dvd of us renewing our vows but I cant bring myself to watch it.


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